Insight to the Wealth of Nations: Chapters One through Three

Chapter 1: Division of Labor               In chapter one, it is very apparent that Smith is pro-capital, and anti-agriculture, which heavily contributes to his ideas surrounding what a rich country should look like. He argued that “the greatest improvement in the productive powers of labor, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is anywhere directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labor.”[1] For Smith the “improvement in the productive powers of labor” could only be achieved through manufacturing. This argument was mainly formed by Smiths disagreement with Continue reading Insight to the Wealth of Nations: Chapters One through Three

What drives healthcare policy: Economics or Cultural values

Skimming through the literature on contemporary healthcare, whether domestic or global, the rhetoric that the authors use reveals quite a bit about their intentions and beliefs on healthcare. For example, a 2003 discussion paper published by the WHO stated one of the main priorities when designing a healthcare system is to, “consider fairness in financial contribution” implying that healthcare is a normal good. On the opposing side, physician-anthropologist Dr. Salmaan Keshavjee of Harvard University stated that when we solely consider market ideals in healthcare, “non-market values worth caring about are crowded out.” These two views are telling of our own Continue reading What drives healthcare policy: Economics or Cultural values

Comedy of the Commons

Overfishing. Pollution. Littering. All of these are ways in which society as a whole misuses common resources (in these cases, animal populations, the environment, and public spaces). These resources are all subject to a phenomenon known as the Tragedy of the Commons, a situation in which everyone has an incentive to use as much of a shared resource as possible but no one has an inherent incentive to maintain it. Fixing the problem involves individuals making decisions that make them worse off while everyone else benefits. Take littering in a public park as an example. Say there are 100 people Continue reading Comedy of the Commons

Venezuelas Monetary Disaster Continued

About two years ago I reported on Venezuela’s messy monetary system, which I intended to update with the new news surrounding the creation of a cryptocurrency they call the Petro. However, I am beginning with a refresher about what Venezuela’s monetary system has looked like since 2014.  Venezuela began to face detrimentally high inflation in 2014, right after the death of previous President Hugo Chavez. Although this was not the beginning of the country’s monetary problems, high inflation has led to a huge decrease in the value of the Bolivar, Venezuela’s currency. Now prices of regular goods and services have skyrocketed. Not only Continue reading Venezuelas Monetary Disaster Continued

Self-Interest vs. Selfishness

Economics—as a field of study and as a way of thinking—has a reputation for selfishness. In large part, this can be traced to the idea that people always have their own best interests in mind and make decisions in accordance with these interests. This idea is an important part of Economics, and is introduced early to those who are entering the field, but it is by no means a complete understanding. Unfortunately, it has a tendency to be treated in popular opinion as though it is a complete understanding; as a succinct description, rather than a simplistic summary. Moreover, it Continue reading Self-Interest vs. Selfishness